A picture paints a thousand words, so the saying goes. A video shared by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky Friday morning packs a powerful gut punch highlighting the costs of the war in Ukraine — funded, in large part, by the sale of Russian oil and gas.
The video starts with pleasant, uplifting music playing, as we see a woman serenely exiting her car, parked at a gas pump at a (pristine) gas station. As she puts the gas pump into the tank, these words appear on the screen: “You don’t pay in euros or rubles for Russian gas and oil.” It then cuts to a missile launch pad with Russian signage on it, followed by a montage of the havoc being wreaked by bombs raining down, mortar fire, and Russian tanks rumbling through the streets of Ukraine.
Interspersed between the scenes of chaos and destruction, we see the woman at the gas station calmly sipping her coffee as she waits for her tank to fill up. Then we see other people doing the same as the message continues: “You pay in the lives of the same Europeans as you.”
Cut to scenes of bodies strewn about, hands bound, a well-manicured now-lifeless hand, as the woman from the gas station leans out her car window smiling, and other gas station customers blithely continue filling up their vehicles.
Then we see three flags appear on the screen, with the words: “Only three countries, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have the courage to refuse funding genocide.” Then…”What about the rest?”
The video then shows a gas pump with the liters and euros racking up juxtaposed with multiple ruined bodies, and asks: “Is there still enough courage in Europe to stop Ukraine’s genocide?” It ends with a link to “bloody energy,” which includes a statement from DTEK Group, NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine, and NPC Ukrenergo:
Every dollar paid for russian energy is a dollar that supports a murderous war. You can no longer sit on the fence about doing or not doing business with russian energy companies. And we have a clear message for those who haven’t realized that: what your margins cover today is a specific number of Ukrainian children killed, homes destroyed, cities decimated and millions of lost or war-torn lives.
DTEK Group, NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine and NPC Ukrenergo called on Western companies to stop cooperation with russia in the fuel and energy sector. We represent major Ukrainian energy companies coming together to build an expert platform to fight on the energy front.
We will expose every company funding this unprovoked war in the heart of Europe.
We will show your shareholders how many Ukrainians their money has murdered.
The only way to stop this war is to deprive the aggressor country of the means to finance it.
We are waiting for other experts to join us to expand the front in our fight against the enemy!
President Zelensky shared the video on Instagram and Twitter. (Warning: graphic video.)
Купуючи російську нафту та газ, ви фінансуєте вбивства українців. Дійте рішучіше. Досить годувати російську військову машину.
Польща, Литва, Латвія та Естонія вже відмовились від фінансування геноциду. pic.twitter.com/AhNB8LBgNP
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) April 8, 2022
“By buying Russian oil and gas, you are financing the killings of Ukrainians. Act more decisively. It is enough to feed the Russian military machine. Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have already refused to finance the genocide,” the (translated) tweet reads.
Clearly, the video is aimed at persuading Europe (and the rest of the world) of the dangers of continuing to finance Russia’s exploits. As of this writing, it has over a million views (and counting). It’s a powerful statement — as intended. Whether it will have the desired effect remains to be seen.
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